Elpub buttonEP Topic News, February 2001

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SoftQuad's MarketAgility Express

MarketAgility Express from SoftQuad is a desktop application designed to allow small and mid-sized suppliers to create their own customised product catalogues. The software is based on XMetaL XML content creation package. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.softquad.com/

Companion 3.0 launched

Dutch company, Companion BV, has released a new edition of Companion its web development and script management tool for the Windows-based platforms. First introduced in 1998, new features in this edition include: extended code reusability among web projects; XML processing; multi-script syntax colouring; customisable editor. According to its developers Companion provides a separate editing layer, enabling the re-use of any recurrent portions of code (eg. HTML, ASP, JavaScript, VBScript, XSLT, PHP, Lasso, Perl), and as such targets the technically skilled web developer who works with several script languages. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.companion.nl/

UK eGovernment failing?

The UK government's current strategy for delivering online services is failing to make the grade and is consequently jeopardising £3.7 billion in cost savings, according to a new report by Forrester Research. Recouping these monies will require a new approach to private-sector partnerships, one which includes revenue-sharing models, Forrester advises. In November 2000, Forrester conducted in-depth research with 14 UK government agencies, grading these departments on the vision, implementation, partnerships and savings sharing of their eGovernment efforts. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.forrester.com/

Europe's broadband - report

Broadband Internet access will spark a second Internet revolution throughout Europe according to a new report, produced by Van Dusseldorp & Partners in partnership with Screen Digest. It predicts that there will be more than 18 million cable modem and DSL users by 2003 and provides market-by-market breakdown, current operator market share, along with analysis of broadband access technologies, the economics of broadband and the European regulatory environment.

Van Dusseldorp & Partners publish the extremely useful Europemedia email newsletter which provides weekly summaries (with links) to web-based editorial and resources focused on the converging media marketplace and the technologies underlying it. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.tvmeetstheweb.com/publications/index.php
URL: Van Dusseldorp & Partners http://www.vandusseldorp.com/

Building sematic webs

The developer of "dexribe", describe it as "a technology that mimics the human knowledge system using a structured information approach. dexribe is a domain-independent and application-independent technology that provides a natural, dynamic, extensible and adaptable system for gathering, storing, organizing and sharing knowledge".

Apparently dexribe builds on concepts from XML technologies, Topic maps, RDF, Groves, human memory models, human interactions, knowledge technologies and related areas. Find out more from the web site. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.infichaos.com/dexribe/index.htm

IBM developerWorks resources

IBM developerWorks Newsletter provides useful "tools, code, and tutorials for open standards-based development". The February 15, 2001 issue includes: a tutorial entitled:

Subscribe to the IBM developerWorks newsletter via the web site below. 23/02/01
URL: view the newsletter http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/?n-2151
URL: subscribe http://www.topica.com/partner/dwlandingpagetext/developerworks

Human Genome explained in 3D

Working Parts, a unit of Knight Ridder/Tribune, has created a highly specialised 3D animation explaining the Human Genome for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The 3D animation provides the molecular and cell level visual representation of NIH's work on the human genome for the organization's multimedia educational kit entitled "The Human Genome Project: Exploring our Molecular Selves".

More than 60,000 Human Genome kits are earmarked for distribution to educational organisations: "As we complete the working draft of the human genome sequence; a critical tool to advance biomedical research, we have a responsibility to provide the tools to help the public, both old and young, understand how genomics will improve health and impact our lives", says Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The kit can also be obtained through the National Institutes of Health web site. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/educationkit/
URL: http://www.workingparts.com/

XSLT discussed

The first W3C Working Draft of XSLT 1.1 attempts to solve several problems with XSLT 1.0 and add new features that are in demand, but has proved to be controversial in several areas. Leigh Dodds, in an article on XML.com, summarises the debate. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2001/02/14/deviant.html

Knowledge management portal

eProjectOnLine.com has launched what it calls a "knowledge management and collaboration portal". The site aims to offer: "a zero-administration, web-based B2B collaboration and knowledge management portal that is intended to be used as a corporate memory". According to the company the site boasts several thousand members and is generally used for: Knowledge Management issue tracking, software bug tracking, incident management, helpdesk tracking. 23/02/01

URL: http://www.eProjectOnLine.com/

XML Query WG news

The W3C XML Query Working Group has just published five documents, including the first public Working Draft of XQuery, the W3C XML Query Language. The documents are available online:

The author notes that XPath and the XML Query Language will be sharing a common expression language. 23/02/01

D-Lib February 2001

The February 2001 issue of D-Lib Magazine is now available online. In this issue, the book, "Internet Publishing and Beyond: The Economics of Digital Information and Intellectual Property" is reviewed and there are four full-length articles, several smaller items in D-Lib Magazine’s 'In Brief' column, and a generous collection of 'Clips and Pointers.' The Featured Collection for this issue is the "Molecule of the Month" web site from Paul May, University of Bristol. The February 2001 articles include:

URL: D-Lib Magazine http://www.dlib.org/
URL: table of contents http://www.dlib.org/dlib/february01/02contents.html

PDA imaging

PhotoSuite Mobile Edition, from MGI Software allows users to store, view, and "beam" photo and video files on both colour and greyscale Palm OS handhelds. The mobile software joins MGI PhotoSuite 4 - Platinum Edition the company's image editing software aimed at home PC users. 23/02/01

URL: MGI http://www.mgisoft.com/

IST 6th Call open

The 6th Call for Proposals under the European Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme was published on 27 January, 2001 with a closing date of 25 April 2001. Full details of the Call are available on the Cordis web site. Also a word of warning concerning the English translation of the IST Work Programme 2001 : apparently the initial version (published on Cordis during the week commencing 26 January, 2001) contained errors. A new version is now on the Cordis site, and proposers are advised to use this latest version. 23/02/01

URL: IST 6th Call http://www.cordis.lu/ist/calls/200101.htm
URL: IST Work Programme 2001 http://www.cordis.lu/ist/workprogramme.htm

Cultural heritage R&D news

Issue 3 of "Cultivate Interactive" the electronic news service is now available. The news service with links to a web site supports the cultural heritage sector of the Multimedia Content Tools (KAIII) action line of European Commission's IST programme. The latest issue includes links to:

Subscibe to the news service via the web site. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.cultivate-int.org/issue3/

SHDSL standardised

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have reached agreement on a new global standard for Single pair High bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (SHDSL) transceivers, which could allow network operators to economically and efficiently offer leased-line services to business customers using existing copper loops.

"This latest Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) standard complements ITU-T’s series of ADSL (asymmetric DSL) standards in that it provides symmetrical high bit rate network access, and thus is particularly attractive to business customers fulfilling their needs to upload and exchange large amounts of data", said Peter Wery, chairman of ITU-T Study Group 15. ITU also approved the first of a set of standards for Home Phone-line Networking transceivers, allowing home-networking devices (eg. computer peripherals) to operate over existing telephone wiring. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.itu.int/
URL: ITU press releases http://www.itu.int/newsroom
Email: Peter Wery mailto:wery@nortelnetworks.com

Optical networking standards

The ITU has also announced that its Telecommunication Standardisation Sector have approved new world standards for next generation optical networks that will provide ultra-high capacity using Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM). The new standards are a result of the work programme initiated by ITU to define optical technology which goes beyond point-to-point architectures, and aimed at: "meeting the growing needs of service providers, and in particular ISPs whose bandwidth hungry customers demand ever-faster connections". 20/02/01

URL: http://www.itu.int/
URL: ITU press releases http://www.itu.int/newsroom
Email: Peter Wery mailto:wery@nortelnetworks.com

SyncTalk Professional 2.0

SoDeog Technologies have introduced Version 2.0 of SyncTalk Professional - the latest version of their wireless communications package for PDA to PDA wireless communication. The software also includes a module called SyncShare enabling users of Palm OS based PDAs "to beam" trial versions of the software to other Palm OS device users.

The SyncTalk platform currently supports infrared "beaming" technology, but will "expand into wireless internet (TCP/IP) and Bluetooth as those technologies penetrate the market". Find out more from the company's web site. 20/02/01

URL: SoDeog Technologies http://www.SyncTalk.com/

Two Way TV and Infogrames

Interactive TV specialist Two Way TV has joined forces with top games developer Infogrames to co-produce games for the Two Way TV channel. The games will utilise MediaHighway "middleware" - the interactive system inside the ONdigital set-top-box. The channel is due to launch this spring on ONdigital a UK-based subscriber channel with, a reported, one million viewers. 20/02/01

URL: Two Way TV http://www.twowaytv.com/
URL: Infogrames http://www.infogrames.com/

Website Pro 3 released

O'Reilly & Associates have released version 3.0 of its WebSite Professional webserver for Windows. The following software is part of the bundle:

URL: http://website.oreilly.com/

Market analysis in 3D

OpenViz is powering a new direct marketing and customer analysis software program being developed by UK-based Neusciences, a developer and marketer of knowledge management software tools. The software will give business users the tools to conduct sophisticated market analysis that previously has only been available to users with specialised analytical skills.

Profiler by Neusciences uses OpenVizinteractive 3D charting, graphing, display and analysis techniques to enable businesses with large client databases to integrate and better understand diverse information about their customers. With Profiler, businesses can analyse their customers' buying patterns, identify which customers are most likely to purchase a new product and find new correlations in transactional and marketing data that will analyze and project how customers may respond to specific direct mail messages. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.avs.com/
URL: http://www.neusciences.com/

360-degree image creation

VR Interactive (VRi) is currently demonstrating its latest product, VR Showcase. VRi's single shot Surroundphoto system and new VR Showcase are intended to simplify the creation of 3D product images and VR scenes and mark a significant reduction in cost. Surroundphoto enables users to create a 360-degree image of a room or environment from a single shot with a digital camera. The photo is then processed into a navigable image using proprietary software available from the web site below. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.surroundphoto.com/

Create online panoramas

Realviz, a developer of 2D and 3D image processing software, has launched a new business unit 'Online-Solutions' and has previewed its first product, Stitcher ASP. Stitcher ASP automatically creates multi-strip panoramas at any resolution. These panoramas can be printed and enlarged to poster size, or used on digital supports to animate and embellish web site content. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.realviz.com/

3D web sites evaluated

Activeworlds.com is entering into a strategic alliance with BetaSphere, the provider of web-based customer feedback solutions for marketers and developers. The affiliation will allow Activeworlds.com customers to submit newly developed 3D web sites to BetaSphere evaluators, who in turn provide feedback that helps site developers improve ease of use, performance, and site navigation.

Activeworlds.com currently claims a worldwide user base of over a million users on the Universe server it operates, which receives over 1 million impressions per day. Companies such as Boeing, Siemens, Juno, Cornell are currently using Active Worlds technology. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.betasphere.com/

Animation tools for Xbox

Discreet has entered into a strategic development relationship with Microsoft to provide animation tools for the Xbox video game console. Discreet will provide architectural and feature changes to its 3D modeling, rendering and animation package, 3ds max, for Xbox game developers. Discreet has engineered its recent release of 3ds max 4 so that Xbox developers can integrate vertex and pixel shaders directly into the 3ds max viewport. This technology will allow Xbox artists and game designers to collaborate more closely. 20/02/01

URL: Discreet http://www.discreet.com/
URL: XBox http://www.xbox.com/

Web-based collaborative environment

RealityWave has released ConceptStation, a web-based interactive collaborative environment for 3D viewing and mark-up. RealityWave's patented VizStream powers ConceptStation. 20/02/01

URL: http://www.realitywave.com/

Multilingual e-content

A recent announcement from the European Commission sets in motion a new market- orientated programme in the area of Internet content products and services ("e-content") which is intended to "stimulate the development and use of European digital content on the global networks". The programme consists of three action lines:

The overall goal of the projects and other actions established within Action Line 2 is to investigate and experiment with new partnerships, strategies and solutions for designing and producing e-content services which can be speedily and effectively tailored to the requirements of European and global markets. Cost-shared projects established within this Action Line will focus in the 2001-2002 time frame on products and services designed to be used in connection with Internet access points, ranging from PCs through mobiles and communicating appliances, to television sets and game consoles.

Further information on the programme can be found on the web site, which will also include early information on upcoming calls for proposals towards the end of February. For additional details on Action Line 2 and Language technologies and applications in general see the hltcentral web site. 16/02/01

URL: e-content http://www.cordis.lu/econtent
URL: hltcentral http://www.hltcentral.org/

Exploiting Galileo, workshop

Organised jointly by the European Commission and ESA on February 27, 2001 in Brussels this OREGEN workshop launches the development phase of the Galileo Programme. The workshop has been designed for industry, SME's, potential service providers and users and has two objectives:

Forfurther information email Miguel Lopez via the email below.

Email: Miguel Lopez mailto:miguel.lopez@brux.fdc.fr

Image metadata research

Technical metadata, which describes various aspects of image characteristics and the capture process, is increasingly being perceived as an essential component of any digitisation initiative. This category of metadata is not only required to support image quality assessment and image enhancement and processing, but is also seen as crucial for long-term collection management to ensure the longevity of digital collections.

The goal of the US's NISO (National Information Standards Organization) Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images Standards initiative is to develop a generalised technical metadata standard applicable to all images regardless of their method of creation. The charge of the Committee is to review and revise the "Data Dictionary for Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images", which presents a comprehensive list of technical data elements required to manage digital image collections.

The committee is requesting feedback on the following issues:

URL: NISO Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images Standards Committee http://www.niso.org/commitau.html
URL: Data Dictionary http://www.niso.org/pdfs/DataDict.pdf
URL: DIG35 http://www.digitalimaging.org/
URL: GDI+ http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/display/GDIplus_Metadata.htm

"The Cathedral & the Bazaar" updated

"The Cathedral & the Bazaar", is seen as the book of seminal essays, (originally published online) by hacker philosopher Eric S. Raymond, which acknowledge the impact of open source software on the technology world. O'Reilly has just released a revised and expanded edition of the book which includes new material on open source developments in 1999 and 2000. New essays address the economics of open source and open source as a competitive weapon. Chapter 5, "The Magic Cauldron", is available free online. 16/02/01

URL: The Magic Cauldron http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/cathbazpaper/chapter/ch05.html
URL: interview with Eric Raymond http://opensource.oreilly.com/news/raymond_0101.html
URL: book details http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/cathbazpaper/

Home networking resources

Part of the Xilinx ESP (Emerging Standards and Protocols) web site provides resources (news and articles) on home networking, as well as tutorials and white papers on standards such as HomePNA, HomeRF, Wireless LAN, HomePlug, and USB. The company plans to add a section on Bluetooth applications. 16/02/01

URL: http://www.xilinx.com/esp

Videogames and teens

It is no secret that the correlation between teenagers and videogame usage is high. But what is the connection between these kids and their games? A Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) study in the US explored teens' videogame habits, including the number of years they have been playing, with whom they play and how they learn about new games, as well as videogame system characteristics and interest in other entertainment activities via a videogame console. Interesting snippets include:

The "Videogames: Teen Buying and Usage" study was conducted via telephone interview to a sample of 500 teens during November 2000 and is available free to CEA members, or for US$ 499 to non-members. 16/02/01

URL: homepage http://www.eBrain.org/
URL: report details http://www.ebrain.org/crs/crs_rep.asp?crscode=CRS126

Semantic web "official"

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has "officially" announced their Semantic Web activity. The brain-child of W3C Director Tim Berners Lee, the concept has created quite a degree of disagreement, particularly relating to its scope, amongst professional web application developers. The W3C states that "The Semantic Web Activity is a successor to the W3C Metadata Activity". 16/02/01

URL: http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/

Web filter released

Biodata Information Technology plans to unveil its firewall content filtering technology, "I-Watch" at CeBIT 2001 in Hannover, Germany, on March 22, 2001. Through automated image and text analysis, "I-Watch," which was developed by Cobion and Biodata, uses a "Family Filter" to filter out web pages which contain images or words from "blacklisted sites". The URL filter technology will be integrated in Biodata's firewall products BIGApplication and SPHINX PC Firewall (for home PCs). 16/02/01

URL: "Family Filter" http://www.visoo.de/
URL: Biodata firewalls http://www.pcfirewall.com/
URL: Biodata http://www.biodata.com/

Cordis - user help

The developers and authors of the European Commission's Cordis (Community Resaerch and Development Information Service) web site have released a brief questionnaire, requesting information on the design of the web site and the information that it provides. In addition a few new services have also been added to the site, including:

URL: questionnaire http://www.cordis.lu/cqas/home.html
URL: Cordis http://www.cordis.lu/

Music for new media

"Music for New Media" is handy free email-based newsleter from Dutch-based independent consultant, Felix Bopp. The February 2001 issue features a brief report on Audible.com which: "makes it possible for you to listen to audiobooks, lectures, public radio programmes, newspaper and more, either at your desktop computer or on-the-go with a portable device. With more than 24,000 hours of downloadable audio, you can find favorites and discover new ones. Audible, Inc. is the Internet's leading provider of premium, spoken word audio for PC-based listening or mobile playback on AudibleReady digital audio players. The company's web site offers more than 22,000 hours of spoken audio programming from more than 160 different providers".

To subscribe, send message with, subject: Subscription Newsletter. 16/02/01

URL: order the newsletter mailto:felixbopp@aol.com
URL: Audible.com http://www.audible.com/

SSL security for Apache

Thawte, a company providing SSL certificates to protect Apache Web servers has issued a free guide explaining how the technology work, "Securing Your Apache Servers". You have to provide some personal contact information in order to get the guide. 16/02/01

URL: Guide http://www.thawte.com/ucgi/gothawte.cgi?a=e107228250022000
URL: Thawte http://www.thawte.com/

First Monday February

The February 2001 issue of First Monday (volume 6, number 2) is available online and includes articles entitled:

URL: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue6_2/

Multimedia educational publishing

The educational publishing section has been updated and provides annotated references to ways of creating or using multimedia to present information for educational purposes. The section is less concerned with the content of multimedia resources than it is with the principles underlying the content. We are particularly interested in resources where the use of multimedia makes a substantial difference to the presentation of the information than if a traditional print medium was used.

Education and training is a growing industry world-wide. Universities, other education institutions, and businesses are investing extensively in new tools and frameworks to support flexible and distance learning, as well as traditional training and teaching. Libraries, archives and museums are investing in digitizing their collections, and increasing access. Education provision is in many ways at the forefront of technological and strategic advances in the creation, delivery and monitoring of online resources. The following pages link to some of the latest projects and tools to support changes in education:

Visit the Educational publishing section on El.pub for more information, or follow the links above. 13/02/01

URL: Educational publishing section index top010.htm

Viewlets "gallery"

Supportgate.com (a provider of Internet service communities) have opened the "Viewlets Gallery" to assist technical support representatives with the answers to "how to" questions using Viewlets technology. The gallery web site has over 300 Viewlets, categorised alphabetically and by skill level from Acrobat to Dreamweaver to Internet Explorer to Oracle Designer to WinZip.

Experience has shown that customer support and help desk professionals are repeatedly asked to respond to the same questions from different customers. Instead of telling customers what to do, representatives can direct them to use Viewlets that show them what to do through easy to understand "how to" demonstrations.

Viewlets, developed by Qarbon, are cross platform providing short "animated movies" which can add obvious benefits to the support function. ViewletBuilder2, available as freeware (for Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris) is the authoring tool for creating the viewlets. 13/02/01

URL: Qarbon http://www.qarbon.com/
URL: Supportgate.com http://www.supportgate.com/

Rapid web app. development

YesSoftware have released CodeCharge, a code generation application which it claims will ease the programming task associated with database publishing on the web. The software generates code in many server programming languages such as Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), Allaire ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML), Sun Microsystems Java Server Pages (JSP), Personal Home Page/Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) and Perl (ASP.NET is planned).

According to the company, the generated code runs on Windows and Unix/Linux platforms and may be freely distributed by commercial application developers as well as Open Source enthusiasts. Compatibility with a wide range of web authoring and application development tools from other companies is also claimed by YesSoftware. 13/02/01

URL: CodeCharge http://www.CodeCharge.com/

Windows to Linux conversion

CodeWeavers described as a "Windows-to-Linux software developer and consultancy", and MusicMatch, developers of an all-in-one digital music jukebox, have announced the general release of MusicMatch Jukebox for Linux 1.0. The software for playing, recording, and organising music is believed to be the first cross-platform software available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems.

CodeWeavers is leading in the development of several Windows-to-Linux technologies using WINE - a Windows API (Application Programming Interface) that runs on Linux. Wine, apparently supported by over 300 programmers worldwide, enables Windows 3.1/95/NT binary files to run on Linux as well as other Intel Unix platforms. WINE 1.0, the commercial-grade utility version of Wine is under development, and is on schedule for completion in the second half of 2001. 13/02/01

URL: CodeWeavers http://www.codeweavers.com/
URL: MusicMatch http://www.musicmatch.com/

XML compression software

Intelligent Compression Technologies have released their latest compression utility XML-Xpress which they claim "can radically reduce file size over other competing XML compression schemes". According to the company XML-Xpress software achieved lossless compression as high as 34:1 at throughputs up to 9 Mbytes/sec on a test database. The software is aimed at developers distributing information over the Internet via XML. 13/02/01

URL: http://www.ictcompress.com/

Wireless transcoding platform

Kargo, a New York-based wireless infrastructure software company, have released Morphis, a "transcoding platform for wireless content". Available as an open-source platform, Morphis enables the delivery of content to wireless devices, including mobile phones, handheld PCs and PDAs.

Morphis is Java-based, and as such, is both platform and network independent. It uses WAX (Wireless Abstract XML), "a set of tools and an abstract markup language...providing a general foundation for performing any type of content transformation, including binary, plain text and text markup, and can process images in addition to HTML, WML, and WAX". Morphis is also able to perform multiple complex transformations, including industry standard XSLT-based transformations. For more information, visit the Morphis site. 13/02/01

URL: Morphis http://www.morphis.org/
URL: Kargo http://www.kargo.com/

Wireless applications server

Canadian company, NetBility Corporation, has launched its WLServer 2.0 Wireless Applications Server. The product is designed to make corporate database information available to wireless devices such as Phone.Com browser compatible cell-phones from OpenWave Systems, and Blackberry 950 and 957 wireless handhelds from Research in Motion using web browsers from NEOMAR and GO-America. WLServer 2.0 for Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000 is available for download, evaluation and purchase via the web site below. 13/02/01

URL: WLServer http://www.wlserver.com/
URL: Netbility http://www.netbility.com/

Natural language search

The true natural language search engine has been the goal of developers working in the search and retrieval market for many years. EasyAsk, like many before them, claim to have made significant progress with their EasyAsk solution. The software aims to aid "plain English" interrogation of corporate databases, product catalogues, and document repositories. According to the company "more than a dozen independent software vendors have licensed EasyAsk, in the past few months". 13/02/01

URL: http://www.easyask.com/

Integrated web development

O'Reilly Network has launched ONLamp.com, a web site promoting the integrated use of several open source technologies used for web development. LAMP is an acronym standing for: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, Perl, or Python. O'Reilly Network has previously focused on these technologies individually, and has now brought them together in one location.

The site will provide articles and resources related to web site performance, development, security, Linux/BSD system administration, Apache installation, Linux multimedia, and MySQL data management. According to O'Reilly, the publishing team, is experienced at providing reliable, useful information, as well as finding and recruiting leaders in the technical community to share their expertise with O'Reilly developers. 13/02/01

URL: http://www.ONLamp.com/

Agent-based computational economics

SimSoc, a web site run by developers in the field of computer-based agent simulation of societies has published its February 2001 news notes on agent-based computational economics (ACE). ACE is defined as "the computational study of economies modelled as evolving systems of autonomous interacting agents". The news notes include announcements regarding journal special issues, books, software, research groups and sites, and workshops and meetings that might be of interest to people engaged in research related to agent-based computational modelling in the social sciences. 13/02/01

URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/ace0201.htm
URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/ace.htm

blaxxun - free 3D client

blaxxun interactive is offering its 3D client blaxxun3D as a free download. This 58 Kbytes Java-applet allows presentation of 3D objects with a standard browser. It is platform independent and can be integrated into the source code of any web site. It is loaded automatically for the web site visitor and requires neither additional plug-in nor separate installation.

For web designers experienced with Java, there is an API (application programming interface) through which upgrading and customizing can be done. blaxxun3D uses Java 1.1, a compatible subset of VRML97. An optimising tool is provided which reduces the file size of VRML objects and adjusts to the X3D format. 13/02/01

URL: http://www.blaxxun.com/

Frost is shipping

Discreet, a division of Autodesk is shipping frost, the latest version of its real-time broadcasting graphics system that streamlines on-air graphics development and workflow. Scene optimisation tools have been improved in frost 2.5. New animation controls for cameras, text and textures reduce scripting, allowing more production work to be completed within frost. frost's tabular view feature gives operators a spreadsheet-style view of 3D scenes, showing all elements and attributes. This viewer includes searching, sorting and editing tools to assist designers with optimising scenes. frost 2.5 also features virtual studio tools. 13/02/01

URL: http://www.discreet.com/broadcast/

Will WAP fail?

The latest El.pub Analytic (from the authors of El.pub) has been published on the site. Entitled: "Usability, WAP, wireless and DVD" the analysis focuses on why WAP is failing to deliver on the many promises made for it by its proponents. The article contends that there is a general acknowledgment that users are exhibiting "WAPathy".

Failure of WAP services is seen as a result of their developers ignoring the requirement for usability testing at the design phase. However , the article concludes that wireless services have been a success in the Japanese market where content providers have a commercial incentive to deliver commercially popular mobile services. It rounds off with a brief analysis of the likely drivers towards a sustainable mobile computing future.

Read the article online, and respond to our rapid straw poll: "Will WAP Succeed - Yes or No". El.pub Analytic is available online and as a downloadable Word document. 09/02/01

URL: "Usability, WAP, wireless and DVD" analytic04.htm
URL: El.pub Analytic Index analytic.htm

Call for cross-programme actions

The call for proposals within the IST Programme, published on 27 January 2001 includes a Cross-Programme Action, CPA11, on "Regional and sectoral pilot actions and demonstrations for the digital economy". The deadline for submission of proposals for CPA11 is 25 April 2001. This action invites you to propose novel IST solutions and practices as catalysts for broader adoption.

The Commission expect to receive mid to large scale projects showing European added value and support by key players in the regions. Proposals should demonstrate their potential to leverage additional funds for full deployment. The areas addressed include SMEs and public services in the digital age. Proposals are encouraged to exploit state-of-the-art infrastructure and technologies. Support measures are also included.

Further information on the themes covered by the actionline are available via a web page on Cordis, and an Information Day which will be held in Brussels, on 20 February 2001. Further details of this along with an application from: Jesús Villasante, CPA 11 coordinator via the email below. 09/02/01

URL: CPA details/themes http://www.cordis.lu/ist/cpt/
URL: Call details http://www.cordis.lu/ist/calls/200101.htm
URL: Information Day details mailto:mary.vitsa@cec.eu.int

T-commerce on the horizon

T-commerce is a new buzz-word being given to commercial activity generated through Interactive TV (ITV). The current focus of T-commerce centres on capabilities such as direct response advertising and programming. Mixed Signals Technologies, a US-based company developing ITV technologies is working to integrate its tools, content and services with the Microsoft TV platform. Microsoft is hoping the move will make its software more appealing to network operators by providing direct response advertising and programming features. 09/02/01

URL: Mixed Signals Technologies http://www.mixedsignals.com/

Bluetooth news

A new web-based news service on the wireless Bluetooth technology is available. Products based on Bluetooth technology, which is backed by Ericsson and other leading companies in the mobile sector, are beginning to be released onto the market. See also the latest El.pub Analytic article published today. 09/02/01

URL: http://www.thebluelink.com/
URL: El.pub Analytic analytic04.htm

IBM software downloads

IBM has announced a number of free downloads, of software and resources, available from their web sites.

Are web users smart?

How smart do you think users of the web are? Usability expert, Jakob Nielsen's latest Alertbox essay (dated February 4, 2001) and available online asserts: "Opponents of the usability movement claim that it focuses on stupid users and that most users can easily overcome complexity. In reality, even smart users prefer pursuing their own goals to navigating idiosyncratic designs. As Web use grows, the price of ignoring usability will only increase". 09/02/01

URL: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20010204.html

Dreamcast in set top boxes

Following on from its announcement that it intends to cease production of the Dreamcast games console in march 2001, Sega has announced that it and PACE Micro Technology will jointly develop a set-top-box home gateway with built-in Dreamcast architecture. The new box is aimed at users wishing to play network games in addition to giving TV show reception. This is the first announcement relating to Sega's intention to expand its "(Dreamcast) architecture licensing business". 09/02/01

URL: http://www.sega.com/

Cultural diversity and IT study

Cultural Diversity is one of the key strengths of the European Union but, in Information Technology, this cultural and linguistic diversity raises some issues that need to be considered. CEN/ISSS is investigating where consensus building could play a part in helping IT-based products and services to become available that respect the cultural diversity in Europe.

The study, commissioned by the European Commission and undertaken on CEN/ISSS's behalf by PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, will be presented at an Open Meeting in Brussels on 22 February 2001. The meeting is aimed at those with an interest in the cultural/linguistic dimensions of the information society, from the perspective of ensuring that technologies are properly and fully usable by everybody. It will explore the validity of the study's findings, and how they can be taken forward within the standardisation community, for the benefit of industry, citizens and Government in Europe. A copy of the agenda and management summary is available via the URL below, registration via the email link. 09/02/01

URL: http://www.cenorm.be/isss/Events/CulturalDiversity/Introduction.htm
Email: registration mailto:francoise.wanson@cenorm.be
URL: CEN/ISSS http://www.cenorm.be/isss

Live online help

The lack of contact with "live help" is often cited as a frustration by users of automated help systems. UK online games software retailer, SoftwareFirst, has announced that it has launched a live online help facility. The service has been designed to guide users through "the minefield of ever-slipping release dates, changing product specifications and even offer impartial advice on the best games for their system". SoftwareFirst claims to have a dedicated sales team online between 9am and 7pm to answer all kinds of product-related questions "instantly" via email. 09/02/01

URL: http://www.softwarefirst.co.uk/

Personal firewall available free

US company, Tiny Software has released a Personal Firewall, claiming that it "protects PCs before Windows launches...unlike other personal firewalls on the market today". In conjunction with CNET the full release of software is available for free to home users via CNET Download.com. 09/02/01

URL: Tiny Software http://www.tinysoftware.com/
URL: download http://www.download.com/

Wireless Ethernet compatibility

The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) numbers 78 companies amongst its membership. The alliance aims to promote the use of its Wi-Fi specification in the wireless LAN (Local Area Network) market. According to a press release 79 products have been certified as adhering to the specification and made available to the market in the past year. Such products have been conformance and interoperability tested leading to the claim that they will "work together". For more information, please visit Wi-Fi web site. 09/02/01

URL: http://www.wi-fi.org/

XML software - new release

News of two XML software products:

IST 6th Call open

The 6th Call for Proposals under the European Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme was published on 27 January, 2001 with a closing date of 25 April 2001. Full details of the Call are available on the Cordis web site. Also a word of warning concerning the English translation of the IST Work Programme 2001 : apparently the initial version (published on Cordis during the week commencing 26 January, 2001) contained errors. A new version is now on the Cordis site, and proposers are advised to use this latest version. 06/02/01

URL: IST 6th Call http://www.cordis.lu/ist/calls/200101.htm
URL: IST Work Programme 2001 http://www.cordis.lu/ist/workprogramme.htm

Artificial societies journal - latest

The latest issue of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) was published on January 31, 2001. JASSS is an electronic, refereed journal devoted to the exploration and understanding of social issues includes four articles on the theme: "Starting from Society: the Application of Social Analogies to Computational Systems".

In their editorial the editors note that, "since societies are extremely complex systems, they are an ideal source for designing processes and systems that work in the face of huge complexity. Biological systems are a similar source, whose influence has already started to be felt in computer science and artificial intelligence, informing ideas about learning, perception and sensori-motor control in robotic models. Now it is the turn for social systems to serve as an example for building complex artificial systems". 06/02/01

In addition to the papers there is:

URL: http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/JASSS/

XML in a Nutshell

Published by O'Reilly, "XML in a Nutshell" is a comprehensive guide to the rapidly growing world of XML. It covers all aspects of XML, from the most basic syntax rules, to the details of DTD creation, to the APIs you can use to read and write XML documents in a variety of programming languages. Chapter 9, XPath, is available free online via the URL below. 06/02/01

URL: XPath chapter http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/xmlnut/chapter/ch09.html
URL: Table of Contents http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/xmlnut/

Real-time animation pipeline

Televirtual in the UK has developed a system which produces multi-character TV animated drama, live and as it happens. Described as a real-time animation pipeline, or 'RAP' system, the computer-hosted package allows a variety of 3D characters, to move, speak and interact, in a selection of virtual sets.

The RAP system, which also allows real-time lighting effects, sound and lipsynch speech generation, has apparently been demonstrated to BBC programme chiefs. RAP has been designed from the outset as a production system that can be used hands-on by TV producers, without the aid of computer programmers, or VR equipment such as body suits or motion capture cameras. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.televirtual.com/

Cross platform tools

NPTV, a French company specialising in digital interactive television solutions, is launching the Bando suite of cross-platform (OpenTV, MediaHighway, and others), cross-media (TV, Internet, Wireless) interactive software authoring tools for the ITV market. PopUp and Quiz editing tools let content owners and broadcasters manage pre-defined interactive scripts from a PC.

These tools have the potential to enhance TV programmes as well as advertisements by giving viewers access to on-screen information and allowing them to interact with programs: biographies, teasers, on-line glossaries, sports statistics, and entertainment guides. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.nptv.fr/

Mobile in practice

The University of Technology Graz in Austria is running a nifty web site, www.phyton.org, with a number of interesting items for mobile enthusiasts. For example, it lists some of the hidden commands which can be used with the Nokia handset. For those interested in WAP there are three interesting applications: a WAP browser to look at WAP sites without WAP-Handy and view source-code; plus WAPMaker, WYSIWYG WAP/WML generator. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.phyton.org/

XML.com - schema politics

A feature article on the XML.com web site is entitled: "The Politics of Schemas" and examines "why schemas are essentially political". There is also:

URL: http://www.xml.com/

Web-based conferencing

COMMfusion, a US-based technology research, analysis and consulting firm, has announced the first in a series of weekly "interactive Webinars or COMMferences" that will focus on voice and data convergence issues. The company is hoping to replicate the utility of traditional conferences, via the Net. As with other such initiatives the company cites time and costs savings as a prime advantage of online events over physical ones.

The first event, scheduled for February 20, 2001 is entitled: "The Rise of the Web-enabled Contact Center". In our experience, replicating online, the high level of interaction achieved by good physical conferences or meetings still remains a very difficult objective to achieve. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.commfusion.com/

Euro start-ups display in US

According to the organisers of EuroTech, an event which aims to match technology companies, with venture capital and finance companies, 100 European startups are planning to attend its two separate two-day events which will take place March 13-14 in New York City and March 15-16 in San Jose, CA. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.eurotech01.com/

Pocket portals?

UK company DecisionWorks has launched what it calls "Pocket Portal" technology for mobile and other wireless devices. The company aims to provide a raft of information management and delivery technologies which enable information access and manipulation via potable devices. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.decisionworksonline.com/

Photo-Objects for Mac

Hemera Photo-Objects 50,000 Premium Image Collection - a low-cost, high quality royalty-free image collection is now available for both Mac and PC users. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.hemera.com/

Wireless Emblaze tested

According to GEO Interactive, testing of its Emblaze Wireless Systems (for streaming wireless video) is underway with France Telecom, One-2-One (a UK mobile company), Singapore Telecom, Libertel, and Energis (a UK telecom provider). Further information from the company's web site. 06/02/01

URL: http://www.emblaze.com/

El.pub reader survey

We run a regular survey of user views of the information service to help develop the content and meet the needs of our readers. The last survey was conducted in April 2000 and since then we have introduced a number of new features. To ensure that we take your views into account in future development, we would be grateful if you would take the time to answer just 10 questions and add any other suggestions you may have.

Your input is a vital ingredient in making the service successful. The questionnaire is posted online and is accessed via the link below. The results will be published on the web site, as with earlier surveys.

Please note: your comments will be anonymous and the information submitted will be used solely to help the editors to improve the El.pub information services. Please complete the form before the end of January.

Although some questions are the same as those in the earlier surveys to enable us to see how the readership is changing, there are also new questions to help us develop the services. We look forward to receiving your comments and thank you in advance for participating! 02/02/01

URL: Questionnaire quest3.htm

Google free for universities

Google is apparently offering free site search to universities and educational institutions worldwide. The offer includes: "detailed reporting and a customisable 'look and feel' " and a number of US institutions have already signed-up. Details of the Google university programme are available via the URL below. 02/02/01

URL: http://services.google.com/googleuniv/login

Sega leaves consoles

The fact that Sega has decided to withdraw from manufacturing, the Dreamcast console has been widely reported in the media. The company will cease manufacturing and marketing the console from March 2001. Sega is planning to concentrate on game creation for other consoles (Nintendo N64 and Sony Playstation 2), PCs, settop boxes and PDAs. It plans to release around 30 game titles between now and March 2002. Details concerning development or porting of games for Microsoft's XBox - have not been announced. 02/02/01

CUP Internet content delivery

Cambridge University Press, (CUP), the printing and publishing house of the University of Cambridge, UK and a major global academic publisher, has launched its Internet content delivery service. Created and supported by InterX's web application platform, InterX BladeRunner, Cambridge Journals Online offers online access, delivers journal content and in the future will deliver book content, to millions of users including students and teachers within the academic world, researchers and the wider public.

CUP publishes over 2,000 new titles each year in print form, with an increasing number being published electronically. The facility to purchase articles online and subscribe to journals directly is currently under development. InterX is a European-based software company specialising in information management. 02/02/01

URL: http://www.interx.com/
URL: CUP http://www.cambridge.org/
URL: CUP Online http://journals.cambridge.org/

DOM updated

The DOM Working Group has updated the Working Draft of the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification. 02/02/01

URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-DOM-Level-3-Core-20010126/

Consumer protection - ECLIP workshop

An ECLIP (Electronic Commerce Legal Issues Platform) workshop on the consumer protection will take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain on February 23, 2001. Entitled: "Codes of conduct and labels as tools for consumer protection in e-commerce", the agenda is available online. 02/02/01

URL: http://www.eclip.org/workshop/6th/consumerprotection.htm

PDF resources link

Planetpdf for everything you always wanted to know about .pdf and more including tips, news, and downloads. 02/02/01

URL: http://www.planetpdf.com/

Semantic Web Agreement Group

The Semantic Web Agreement Group (SWAG) is interested in "creating a strong infrastructure for the Semantic Web, whilst working with various members of the web community to ensure that data remains interoperable". SWAG's current focus is the compilation of the SWAG Dictionary and the creation of new vocabularies.

Developers who are interested in helping catalogue, define and connect the terms of the Semantic Web are being encouraged to join SWAG and assist in this work. To join SWAG subscribe (to the SWAG development list) by sending a blank email to mailto:swag-dev-subscribe@egroups.com and send your messages to the list at: mailto:swag-dev@egroups.com. Please note that the list is fairly high volume. 02/02/01

URL: SWAG http://purl.org/swag/
URL: SWAG Dictionary http://webns.net/

Web health advice high in US

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has published a report on how the web "helps Americans take better care of themselves" documenting the Internet's powerful influence on "health seekers". According to the report (which is available online) 52 million American adults, or 55% of those with Internet access, have used the web to get health or medical information. The Pew research terms calls them "health seekers" and a majority of them go online at least once a month for health information.

A great many health seekers say the resources they find on the web have a direct effect on the decisions they make about their health care and on their interactions with doctors. There is a wealth of opinion, relating to this very real application of online publishing, which is obviously being used to significant degree in the US and presumably worldwide.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project carries out original, academic-quality research that explores the impact of the Internet in the US on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source for timely information on the Internet's growth and societal impact, through research that is impartial. 02/02/01

URL: Pew Internet & American Life Project http://www.pewinternet.org/
URL: health report http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/toc.asp?Report=26

Web application repository

Apps.com indexes thousands of useful web apps, applications or programs that run in browsers (often with the help of plug-ins such as Flash). The site lists over 10,000 web apps, ranging from business and personal finance tools, e-mail and collaboration applications, calculators, games, and other.

The listings, searchable according to type of application, include a brief description of the software's function, whether the app is shareware or commercial (requires payment), a rating system (which is run by registered users of the Apps.com site), and a link to the app providers web site for download. 02/02/01

URL: http://www.apps.com/

Energis and Sky collaborate

UK power company, turned telecoms provider, Energis' interactive division has signed an agreement with Sky to launch a "virtual high street" on interactive digital satellite TV in the Spring. The service, BrightBlue, will aim to provide access to a broad range of services including shops, banking, travel, betting and recruitment. The services will be delivered to Sky's home viewers in the UK (estimated to be around 4 million, by Energis) through interactive TV and also via the Net and mobile phone. 02/02/01

URL: Energis Interactive http://www.energis.co.uk/

Tecsoc News

The Center for the Study of Technology and Society publishes a useful weekly newsletter, a sample of recent items include:

Subscribe to a weekly email update service, via the web site below. 02/02/01

URL: http://www.tecsoc.org/

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